Aromatherapy has been used as a sleep aid for generations to provide a relaxing and completely natural way to fall asleep at night.
Aromatherapy is the use of carefully exacted pure plant oils, which when inhaled produce measurable effects on the body.
Oils from plants such as lavender and jasmine have been scientifically proven to produce a sedative effect on the body, helping you fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper throughout the night.
For more information about aromatherapy and how plant extracts can help you sleep better, take a look at the Herbal Sleep Aids article.
Aromatherapy diffusers are devices that spread the scent of the aromatherapy oils around the room. Here are my two favourite aromatherapy diffusers.
VicTsing Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser
Traditional aromatherapy diffusers consist of a lit flame underneath a pot of diluted aromatherapy oil which evaporates and scents the room. But because of the naked flame, you need to be present and awake in the room while the diffuser is in use, making them unsuitable for producing a scent to fall asleep to.
Alternatively, this hi-tech diffuser uses an ultrasonic nebulizer that vaporizes the oil to a fine mist, without creating any heat.
To use, fill with a little water and add a few drops of essential or absolute oil. The unit will let you know whenever it needs refilling.
The diffuser has adjustable intensity options so you can choose how much vapor is produced and features low level mood lighting that you can either turn on or off.
It provides an easy and effective way to gain all the scientifically proven benefits of aromatherapy throughout the night.
Oregon Scientific Aromatherapy Clock
This clock features a built in ultrasonic diffuser along with nature sounds and mood lighting. It has two primary features, to help you wake up and to help you fall asleep.
It works just like any other ultrasonic diffuser. Just fill with a cup of water and add a few drops of essential oil. It can be set to diffuse the water continuously or every 30 seconds on and off, giving you control over how much fragrance is used.
To fall asleep set the sleep timer anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. Add a few drops of lavender or jasmine essential oil. Set the mood lighting to blue or purple and choose one of the five relaxing sounds or leave it silent if you wish. You’ll then have a wonderful relaxing fragrance to help you fall asleep.
To wake up you set the time just as you would with a regular alarm clock. Choose orange, yellow or green mood lighting, and choose one of the nature sounds. Add a few drops of invigorating essential oil such as lemongrass. Then instead of waking up to a jarring alarm, you’ll waken to an invigorating fragrance and the sound of nature.
Aromatherapy is a natural way to alter your level of wakefulness. Different aromatherapy oils have different effects. Some make you feel relaxed and feel sleepy, while others make you feel refreshed and alert.
Lavender Essential Oil (10ml)
Lavender essential oil is created through a distillation process. Steam rises though the lavender, taking with it some of its oil. The steam is then re-condensed and the oil is separated from the water.
A range of scientific studies have shown that the scent of lavender helps people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and provides more refreshing sleep. A study conducted by the University of Southampton found that participants slept 20% better by sleeping in a lavender scented room than those sleeping in another room scented by a placebo.
The effectiveness of lavender is believed to be due to the effect it has on the brain’s limbic system, making us feel more relaxed and sleepy.
Essential oils can be evaporated into the air using a diffuser, add a few drops to a warm bath or add a few drops of to a handkerchief to place next to you as you sleep.
Price: $13.95 | Buy from Amazon
Jasmine Absolute Oil (5ml)
Some plants such as Jasmine can’t product essential oils because the heat required for the distillation process would damage the plant oil. Instead, these tricky plant oils can be extracted using a chemical solvent. The solvent is then removed leaving behind the absolute oil. Absolute oils tend to be more expensive than essential oils because they are much harder to obtain and produce much lower yields.
A recent study has shown that jasmine may work even better than lavender. Participants slept in either a room with no scent, scented with lavender, or scented with jasmine. The participants in the jasmine room were reported to have slept more peacefully and were more alert during the afternoon than those who had slept in the other two rooms.
Another piece of research showed that jasmine is as effective as the insomnia prescription drug Diazepam (marketed as Valium) but without the hangover side effects.
The effectiveness jasmine could be due to the chemical called linalool, which has been shown to reduce stress levels.
Price: $8.99 ($27.24 / Fl Oz) | Buy from Amazon
Relaxation Essential Oil Blend (10ml)
This is a blend of 6 essential oils designed to promote a peaceful relaxed state, perfect for winding down before bed.
Each oil has its own unique effects on the body. It has been said that the true skill of an aromatherapist is to create a blend of aromatherapy oils to provide the widest range of effects.
There’s no one agreed blend to help with insomnia, so each brand generally contains a different range of oils. Lavender and jasmine are known as two of the most effective oils to promote sleep and have full scientific backing, so I would recommend going for a blend which contains at least one of these oils.
This particular blend contains lavender, marjoram, patchouli, mandarin, geranium and chamomile.
Price: $14.95 ($45.30 / Fl Oz) | Buy from Amazon
Lemongrass Essential Oil (10ml)
Getting great sleep isn’t just about feeling drowsy in the evening. It’s also about feeling fresh and alert during the day.
Lemongrass essential oil has a fresh citrus lemon fragrance, well known for its invigorating effect.
It’s a great scent to use to wake you up in the morning or late afternoon after lunch when there’s a natural dip in alertness. Lemongrass will help you feel alert and productive throughout the day.
Price: $11.95 ($36.21 / ounce) | Buy from Amazon